What Makes A Great Live album?

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August 29, 2018

-Kitty Dunn photo

There's been plenty of debate about which rock and roll live albums are the best. But have you ever thought about what it is that makes a great live album great? Some of the important qualities are obvious, but others are more difficult to define.

Do you agree with my list?

1. The sound cannot suck. Nobody wants to relive a concert where the vocals are buried or you can't hear the guitar solo.

2. The music needs to ascend to a level that goes beyond what the studio versions achieve. It has to make you wish you were standing with a group of your friends jumping up and down, and perhaps, yes, even pumping your fist.

3. The performances can't be too pristine. A clunky note or two adds to the charm, and should not be fixed up with Pro-Tools or a razor blade (if you're living in an analog world.)

4. The band members have to sound like they're having a good time and are engaging the audience. The band members should NOT be obviously drunk or having a bad acid trip.

5. The album package should include reproduction inserts of contracts, riders, and unused concert tickets. That way you can laugh and laugh when you see someone bring them into Antiques Roadshow.(Watch).